Malawi Parliamentary Support Initiative (MPSI)
The Malawi Parliamentary Support Initiative (M-PSI) sought to improve the capacity and performance of the Malawi Parliament in carrying out its oversight, legislative, and representation functions.The project was coordinated by a Technical Committee and overseen by the Steering Committee, both committees comprised of staff from AFIDEP, CPI and Parliament. The project’s targeted beneficiaries were Members of Parliament, Parliament leadership, Parliament technical staff, civil society organisations and academia.Specifically, the project’s objectives were to:
- Strengthen support systems and resources required to institutionalize a culture of evidence-informed budget analysis, financial scrutiny and policymaking in the Malawi Parliament
- Strengthen technical knowledge and skills of Parliament staff in budget analysis and financial scrutiny and evidence-informed decision-making and
- Provide informative and objective non-partisan budget analyses and related research to support the legislative, oversight, and representative roles of Parliament
The Project developed 5 guidelines to improve parliament efficiency in legislation, oversight and budget assessment. The guidelines that were developed are;
- Budget Analysis Manual
- Legislative Research Manual
- Guidelines on Bill Drafting and Analysis
- Call for evidence guidelines
- Evidence submission guidelines
The project launched the Short-term Technical Experts (STTE) programme, which is a flagship programme that has recruited experts to enhance the technical capacity of Parliament through three key areas:
- Budget Analysis and Public Finance Management Experts (3)
- Legislative Research Expert (2)
- Legal Services/drafting Expert (1)
The project trained parliamentary staff in budget Analysis, Financial Scrutiny, Excel and Legislative Research to strengthen their knowledge and skills in budget analysis, financial scrutiny and legislative research.The project developed an online portal for evidence submission to promote public engagement.Outputs
- Budget analysis manual developed to strengthen institutional and technical capacity for monitoring and tracking the National Budget and assessing its impact on policy implementation. The manual is being used by Parliamentary Budget Office, Public Accounts and Budget Committee, MPs.
- Legislative Research Manual developed to improve the process and quality of legislative research as well as provide reference and explanatory material for the same. The manual is being used by research Section, committee Section, MPs.
- Bill Drafting and Analysis Manual developed to standardize bill drafting and analysis processes and establish high quality standards of research evidence in debating and decision-making. The manual is being used by legal Section, Research Section, MPs.
- Guidelines for Parliamentary Committees Formulating Open Calls for Evidence developed to standardize call and analysis of evidence submitted to parliament. The manual is being used by committee section, Research section, Civic Education section.
- Guidelines for Submission of Evidence to a Parliament Committee Inquiry Guide developed to guide the general public on procedures for evidence submission to parliamentary committees. The general public and institutions submitting evidence.
- Evidence submission online portal developed to guide and help the general public submit evidence and help the committee section systematically analyze received evidence.
- STTE experts offered a number of technical assistance to Members of Parliament and Parliament secretariat staff:
- The Budget Analysis and Public Finance Experts analyzed a Private Members Bill popularly known as the Interest Capping Bill.
- The Budget Analysis and Public Finance Experts were asked to analyze four loan authorization bills that were passed in Parliament.
- The Budget Analysis and Public Finance Experts undertook a Mid-Term Budget Analyses for the Budget Committee during the March Sitting and presented the findings to the Committee Section for wider circulation within the institution.
- The Legal Services Expert assisted Members of Parliament to draft a private member Bill on old age pension scheme in Malawi. The Bill proposed an establishment of a framework for the provision of a predictable monthly income to senior citizens.
- The Legal Services Expert also provided advice and wrote a legal opinion, on behalf of the Department, on the Malawi Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2018. The legal opinion was submitted to the Office of the Clerk of Parliament (CoP).
- The Legislative Research Experts wrote a brief on the importance of the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) to Malawi Parliament.
- The Legislative Research Experts also wrote a brief on Occupational Safety and Health in reference to the Malawi Occupational Safety, Health and Welfare 1997 Act.
- Placement of Legal Fellows in parliament facilitated the formation of Parliament Budget Office (PBO). MPSI supported the running of PBO office for the first 8 months. Two STTE experts were recruited as full time staff and of the experts heads the PBO section
- 30 parliamentary staff from Research Section, Legal Section, Committee Section, Table Section, and Policy and Planning Division trained in Bill drafting and analysis training
- 25 parliamentary staff from Budget Office from Policy and Planning Division, Committee Section, and Research Section trained Budget Analysis and Financial Scrutiny
- 30 parliamentary from Research Section, Legal Section, Committee Section, Table Section, and Policy and Planning Division Legislative Research Training
- 30 Parliamentary staff from Parliamentary Budget Office, Policy and Planning Division, Committee Section, and Research Section trained in
- 31 MPs, Parliamentary Committees chairpersons and deputy chairpersons (Members of Parliament) trained in Legislative Research and their capacity in legislation and oversight functions strengthened.
- 6 research products and policy briefs produced and disseminated
- Budget Analysis Manual and Legislative Research Guidelines, institutionalizing a culture of Evidence-Informed Decision Making EIDM)
- Legislative research training for MPs strengthened their capacity in legislation and oversight
- Call for evidence guidelines will improve the parliament’s engagements with the general public and promote people’s participation in parliamentary work
- Evidence submission guidelines will contribute to systematic objective analysis of submitted data
- Online portal for call for evidence and evidence submission developed and will be hosted on Parliament of Malawi website
The project was supported by USAID/Malawi through the Malawi STEPS grant to Counterpart International and implemented by AFIDEP as a sub-grantee.